I’ve always considered bruschetta to be “adult” food. It epitomized my vision of classy cocktail parties, with women in short, trendy dresses sipping on vodka tonics and nibbling on bruschetta. Little pieces of bread piled with tomatoes and other delicious things. Paired with alcohol, pretty dresses and the classiest of conversations and little Mansee could not wait to grow up and attend such affairs – which I assumed I would be invited to every single day.
Obviously I lived in a special, sheltered world that made me think these things. In reality, I’ve been invited to ZERO cocktail parties, live in a world where we’ve figured out how to wear yoga pants to work and drink wine in bed while watching The Good Wife on my computer. With all that said, I must admit that the most unrealistic aspect of my “cocktail party” dreams is the bruschetta. Because have you ever tried to eat one? What. A. Mess. Seriously, after one bite all the topping essentially jumps off the bread and laughs in your face. One might argue this is because I’m too lazy to really chop up everything and if my topping was just smaller this wouldn’t happen. I would argue that they should leave me alone.
I only say all this because I think bruschetta (this one, especially) is a beautiful thing, but should be eaten sitting down, on a plate. Like, as dinner. You could also eat these standing over the sink. If you do, please let me know because we should definitely be best friends.
The star of this recipe is 100% the “crazy feta.” You guys, this dip is INCREDIBLE. I’ve been making it at least once a month for a couple of years now and I just never get sick of it. When I have it on hand, it goes in and on everything I eat. Bread, pasta, meat, vegetables, whatever. It’s so spicy and flavorful and just gets better and better as it sits. It’s a perfect little appetizer with warm pita or crackers. And between two slices of bread, it is legit the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had. The recipe for the dip comes from one of my favorite bloggers, and I believe it is inspired by a dip at Whole Foods.
I obviously wouldn’t know about that because I still feel like I don’t belong at that damn store. Probably because I eat bruschetta by myself over the sink, but whatever.
Crazy Feta Bruschetta
Makes 12-14 + extra feta
1 head of garlic
2 jalapenos (3 if you like things extra spicy!)
2 8oz blocks feta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 mint leaves, julienned
Balsamic glaze (optional)
To make the “crazy feta”
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut the head off your garlic and place on a sheet of foil. Pour about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over top and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Wrap foil tightly around garlic and place on baking sheet. Rub jalapenos with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and set on the baking sheet next to garlic. Roast everything until the peppers are charred and the garlic is soft and fragrant – this should take anywhere from 30-40 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Crumble feta into a large bowl. Add lemon zest + juice, garlic (you can just squeeze it out of the head) and the jalapenos, seeded and diced. Begin mashing everything with a fork and then slowly stream in the 1/4 cup of oil. It might be a little tough to get going but eventually everything will come together. This dip will stay chunky, but should still be a spreadable consistency. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
To make the topping
Place halved tomatoes in a small bowl. Add oil, salt, pepper and mint and mix well. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble bruschetta.
Heat grill pan (or regular grill!) over medium heat. Slice baguette into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces, and lightly brush each piece with a little bit of oil on both sides. Grill bread for 30 seconds on first side, flip and grill for another minute. Flip again and lower heat a bit. Spread with 1-2 teaspoons of feta and keep bread on the grill until the cheese just starts to melt. Remove from grill (pan) and set on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the bread.
Top each piece with a few tomatoes and extra mint if you’d like. Drizzle with balsamic glaze (I buy mine, but you can also just heat and reduce regular balsamic for this) if you’re using. Enjoy!
Note: You can definitely make these in the oven. Just bake the bread at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until toasted. Spread with feta and place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes. Then top and enjoy!